The Utube project aims to research and develop earth blocks from excavated resources of the Metro3 project in Brussels. The project is a partnership undertaken by BC materials and Buildwise (former BBRI) over a 2-year period and is funded by Innoviris.  

Specifically, the Utube project will transform the millions of tons of excavations from Metro3 works into 25 000 m2 earth blocks for delegated client Beliris (7 metro stations: North to Bordet). The challenge is to develop an earth block system which is market competitive in price, while keeping its excellent environmental characteristics and technical performance. 
Locally produced earth blocks can have up to 120 times less carbon footprint than concrete blocks and up to 220 times less than baked bricks. They are fully circular, low-cost, close to carbon neutral, healthy and beautiful. They perform well in fire resistance, acoustics, thermal inertia and humidity regulation and can be used for any type of internal walls such as: 

  • Room separation within a house (“binnenmuur”) 
  • Separation between two adjacent housing units (“Woningscheidende wand”) 
  • Separation between fire compartments (Compartimenteringswand”) 
  • Inner side of cavity wall (“Binnenspouwblad”) 
  • False wall (“voorzetwand”) 

BC materials has visited European earth block producers and Belgian concrete block and baked brick producers in order to analyse possibilities to upscale. We defined 3 interesting techniques for earth block making: extrusion, moulding and vibrocompaction, leaving mechanical and hydraulic compression aside for upscaling purposes. Prototyping will lead to MEB's, VCEB's and EEB's for the Utube project, tested according to French, German and European norms. 

BAM Besix
Molded blocks Vibrocompacted blocks
Type of act
Consulting & development